Social Media Matters: Facebook gets strict on cover photo guidelines

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, May 4, 2012
Metro section

Facebook gets strict on cover photo guidelines

The new banner-style cover photo for Facebook pages are being used in a creative way by many as a reflection of themselves or their businesses and organizations. There are rules, however, for these cover photos of which you should be aware.

If you have a Facebook page for your business, organization or yourself (i.e. politician, political candidate, writer, public figure, etc.), the following restrictions apply when you start getting ‘fancy’ and either start altering the image yourself or have a graphic designer do it for you.

FacebookFirst of all, if you’re a retailer or someone who sells a service, you’re not allowed to include price or purchase information in the photo. You’re not allowed to announce that there’s a sale, i.e. ‘Half price’ or ’35 per cent off ‘ – or even urge clients to download something from your website.

As well, believe it or not, you’re not allowed to include your website URL, e-mail address or any ‘other information intended for your Page’s About section,’ according to Facebook’s guidelines. Many page administrators may be tempted to include this information in the cover photo, but it’s prohibited.

You are also not allowed to invite or urge others to like, share or use any other Facebook features. You can in posts, of course, but you can no longer use a graphic that includes text such as ‘Like our page!’ in the cover photo.

And finally, calls to action are not allowed in the photo. This would include terms such as ‘tell your friends,’ ‘get it now,’ ‘hurry and save,’ ‘come again soon,’ ‘vote for me,’ etc. In short, the new Facebook cover photo feature is supposed to represent you, not act as an advertisement.

And to political candidates out there in New Brunswick right now: Remember… if your opponents are following the rules and you’re not as far as Facebook cover photos go, all they have to do is complain to Facebook and your page is gone. This is not something you want to happen on the eve of an election.

National Zoo live tweets insemination

Mei Xiang
Mei Xiang

Earlier this week, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., caused quite a stir when it live tweeted the artificial insemination of their 13-year-old female panda, Mei Xiang. Using the hashtag #pandaAI on their Twitter account (@NationalZoo), they documented every step in the process of trying to get her pregnant again seven years after giving birth to her son, Butterstick.

The tweets grossed some people out but fascinated many others. Let’s just say, they didn’t leave much to the imagination. The tweets were written by Dave Wildt, senior scientist and head of the Center for Species Survival at the National Zoo.

Other than tweets specific to the procedure, Wildt’s tweets were also meant to educate, including: 1) ‘Pandas are solitary in the wild and live in China. There are only about 1,600 left! Today is part of our efforts to conserve them.’ 2) ‘Female giant pandas can only breed during a short 24-72 hour window each year.’ 3) ‘We’ll know later this summer whether she’s pregnant or if she experiences a pseudo, or fake, pregnancy.’

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Each week, I suggest three YouTube channels for you to check out. Statistics are current to May 1. Have a favourite channel? Let me know about it and I may feature it here!

1) OMG Facts (561,086 subscribers): The OMG Facts channel is highly addictive for those who enjoy trivia. These quick and snappy videos are usually under two minutes long, so they don’t take much time to watch. Entertaining – and educational! There’s also a companion YouTube channel called OMG Facts 2 (14,826 subscribers) that contains bloopers, outtakes and facts that didn’t make it to the main video channel.

As well, OMG Facts has a website, Facebook page and Twitter account. There are also issue-specific Twitter accounts such as @OMGFactsSex, @OMGFactsCelebs, @OMGFactsAnimals and @OMGFactsSports. (Most popular video: Yes. Dolphins REALLY Do This. (ft. Ray William Johnson) – 2,162,724 views.)

2) Canadian Blood Services Official Channel (155 subscribers): I love this channel’s official YouTube URL – 18882DONATE is not only their URL, but their call to action because it’s the telephone number one calls to book an appointment for donating blood. Clever! This is a very active channel containing 67 videos featuring testimonials, TV ads and public service announcements aimed at various target populations, i.e. aboriginals. (Most popular video: TV Ad – 30 seconds (uploaded March 29, 2012) – 28,714 views.)

3) Star Wars (9,734 subscribers): Since today is May 4 and Star Wars Day (May 4 = May the fourth = May the force be with you), it’s only fitting that the official Star Wars YouTube channel be featured this week. The channel hosts nearly 100 related videos that are sure to keep Star Wars fans occupied for a few hours. Videos include trailers, featurettes, teasers, clips, news reports and TV ads. (Most popular video: Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace 3D Trailer – 4,745,530 views.)

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